The 1950’s Fabulous Foursome!This is a fan site of the original Diamonds of the 1950s. All hailing from Canada, they made their way to the U. S., and with their songs and energy, endeared themselves to their fans forever.
The Diamonds were often accused of diverting royalties from (“robbing”) black groups. There’s much more to this than meets the eye:The practice of covering songs was very prevalent in the business at that time. For many decades prior to the advent of Rock ’n Roll, singers sang and songwriters wrote. That was just the way things were done, and the Diamonds were part of this. They didn’t write songs, they just sang them. In fact, they were surprised to find that some singing artists wrote their own material.In their first years of recording, The Diamonds had virtually no say in what they recorded. They were a new, unknown group who considered themselves very lucky to be given a recording contract and Mercury told them what to record, or gave them a few choices (of songs selected by Mercury), and they gratefully did what they were expected to do. (Mercury did offer them a choice for an original song to go on the flip side of “Little Darlin”, and they chose “Faithful and True”, which had been ‘pitched' to them by the songwriters themselves) Especially early on, The Diamonds’ records appeared mainly on the pop (white) charts while the black artists’ versions were on the R & B charts. That changed somewhat as the group became better known. The songwriters themselves benefited greatly from the Diamonds’ use of their songs. The R&B record companies didn’t have the distribution capability of the big pop companies, so many more copies of these writers’ songs were sold as a result of the Diamonds doing them. All in all, The Diamonds only recorded approximately 17 “cover” songs as opposed to over 60 original and standards. Considering all these things, it seems unfair to level the charge of robbing against the group.For a list of songs that were covers and originals click here.
More on The Subject of “Covering” Artists and RamificationsPhil Levitt